Mira-Bhayandar: Jellyfish 'Invasion' Haunts Fisherfolk In Coastal Uttan

Mira-Bhayandar: Jellyfish 'Invasion' Haunts Fisherfolk In Coastal Uttan

For the past couple of days, the proliferation of jellyfish, (referred by the Koli community as gaade or jhumar owing to its chandelier-like shape) has reached alarming proportions.

Suresh GolaniUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 06:57 PM IST
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Already reeling under an acute financial crisis due to choppy weather and a significant decrease in the quantity of catch, the fisher-folk living in the coastal belt of Uttan near Bhayandar are now haunted by yet another and much more severe problem-Invasion of Jellyfish.

Proliferation of jellyfish affects fishing

For the past couple of days, the proliferation of jellyfish, (referred by the Koli community as gaade or jhumar owing to its chandelier-like shape) has reached alarming proportions. The nets which are casted in the sea are often damaged beyond repairs after getting clogged with a large number of jellyfish owing to its heavy weight. Made up of 90 percent water, jellyfish which have no brain, blood, or bones are considered as an inedible and useless catch.

The fishermen said that the availability of fish has also decreased following the arrival of jellyfish. "As we get more jellyfish than fish in the net, we are left with no other option but to abandon the catch back in the sea," said a fisherman.

Adding to the woes, if the jellyfish comes in contact with skin, it causes inflammation and burning sensation, making it more difficult to get rid of them from the nets.  "The fisherfolk who are already facing an acute financial crisis owing to the extremely low catch are saddled up with loans.  The jellyfish menace has compounded their woes as the entire voyage is going wasted leading to huge losses. Alike farmers, the government should compensate the fishermen," demanded Bernard D’mello, working president of the Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samithi.

Former corporator-Sharmila Bagaji echoed similar concerns. As per its size and capacity of the boat, around eight to eighteen crew members including the khalasi’s (helpers) and tandel (captain) set out on a fishing voyage of a boat which lasts for a week to ten days.

Most boats returning empty handed

However, most of the boats are returning empty handed. Apart from the labour cost, a major part of essential commodities, diesel and other supplies for the voyage gets wasted. Consequently, most of the fishermen have opted to keep their boats anchored instead of venturing out on a fishing voyage. The quaint fishing villages, including Uttan, Pali, Dongri, Bhatte Bunder and Chowk, are home to more than 750 boats, which are the means of sole livelihood source for many people living in the coastal belt.

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